How I Failed My Way to Success: Lessons from a Millionaire Fitness Coach

Never miss a glorious update - click here!

“How do I create a successful fitness business?”

As someone who has run many types of business (all of which have done pretty well), I should be able to answer this question, but here’s the thing: in order to answer it, I have to basically admit to years worth of mistakes, fumbles, and blatant fuck-ups, because, baby, you have no idea just how much failure was involved in my success.

For those of you who don’t know, I got into fitness sort of by accident.  A chubby kid growing up, I finally got into shape when I was in college. 

At 19 years old, I saw my abs for the first time ever, and thought, “Hey… maybe I could do this for a career.”

Okay, that didn’t happen—I was quoting Zoolander.  But still.

At the time, I was in college double majoring in Psychology and Biology, so while fitness became a passion, I didn’t consider it as a career option. Instead, I assumed that I might wind up with a job somehow connected to the degree I was working my ass off for.

Along those lines, I added fitness to my studies: being a bookish sort of lad, the manifestation of being bitten by the fitness bug led to reading everything about it that I could get my hands on.

Within a year, I had been certified and started taking on clients.

In short order, my nerdiness led me to combine two of my interests: writing and fitness.  At 20, I had my first article published.

Soon enough, I’d been published in a number of fitness magazines as both a writer and a model, and at that point I began to think seriously about where this path might take me.


Roman Fitness Systems: Origins

Initially, I put a little bit more stock in modeling—a fantasy from which I was pretty quickly awakened. I don’t want to delve too deeply into my delusions of what the life of a model would be like, but suffice it to say that the pay isn’t great and the benefits of the lifestyle (in terms of parties and women) are usually grossly exaggerated. And when they’re not, the novelty wears off rather quickly.

So instead, I began to take training more seriously, and as my inner scholar (read: nerd) was still not to be denied, I threw myself into literature and seminars to learn more. I learned everything I could about training, nutrition, supplementation, even enrolling myself in university courses on pharmacology.

Unfortunately, it never occurred to me take learn anything about the business side of what I was doing…

And so, for 4-5 years, I BADLY ran a SUCCESSFUL training business.

(Wait, what? How can you badly run a business and be successful?  Ah, that’s the rub.  I’ll get to that in a bit.)

Fast-forward 4 years….

By the time I was 23, I was doing pretty well—I’d been training for 4 years and, as it turned out, I was damn good at it: my clients were getting great results and my articles were always well received. I had not only built a repuation locally, but had built great friendships with other young coaches who would later go on to be super stars. Add to that the fact that I was making a nice living with minimal expenses while doing what I enjoyed.

Yup, life in the gym was pretty awesome.

Unfortunately, some aspects of my personal life were not so peachy: roughly around this time, I began to get into pretty massive blowouts with my mother.

You see, for my part, I hadn’t yet decided that training was going to be THE path for me.  I was leaning in that direction, but still considered it a sort of “for now” type of gig.

Taking my uncertainty and brandishing it as an emotional weapon as only a mother can, Momma Roman began a series of seemingly endless diatribes on where my life was going.  The focal point of her argument was, “Do you really think you can just work in a gym for the rest of your life?”

I don’t want to be too hard on my mom, because she really did have my best interests at heart.  Firstly, she didn’t want to see me “waste” my education by not utilizing my degree.  Secondly, and more pertinently, she simply didn’t view training as “stable” work and didn’t want me to struggle with financial uncertainty.

(Having been raised in a single-parent household with our income fluctuating between broke as hell and completely destitute, I certainly agreed with her.)

I guess, to put it in the most accessible terms, my mother just didn’t consider training to be a “real job.”


What, this don’t look like a real job to you? (Photo: Jared Polin)

Of course, I was young and stubborn and while I still felt like I was “figuring stuff out” I had recently come to the realization that I most certainly DID NOT want to get a job involving my degree.  In fact, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that what I really wanted to do was train.

(In retrospect, part of that may have been me deciding to prove my mom wrong. I couldn’t say for sure.)

What I do know, and what I did know was this: my passion had developed fully, and taken firm root.  Fitness had changed my life.  It got me published in magazines, changed my body to help me live the life I wanted, and allowed me to have a nice living.

Fitness had also given me social status, to some degree.  Money not withstanding, I’d developed a reputation for being the best in the area, and had recently picked up two professional athletes as client.  That, coupled with some TV appearances and the general “small town” nature of where I grew up, allowed me a tiny slice of what it felt like to be a local celebrity.  I liked it.  I LOVED it.

I wasn’t willing to give any of that up—instead, I wanted to make it a larger part of my life.  Fitness wasn’t going anywhere.

My only option, as I saw it, was to make my mother view training as a “real job,” and the only way to do that was to make more money.


Right around this time, I heard a quote from Alwyn Cosgrove, and it’s one that has stayed with me every single day.

“Most trainers don’t understand they are running a business. Most fitness professionals are running a hobby and trying to make money at it. That will never work long-term.”

I was thunderstruck when I heard this, because I realized that’s EXACTLY what I was doing.

Remember when I said that I badly ran a successful training business?  Well here’s what that means.

It means that I was a hugely successful trainer.  I was booked solid all week long.  I wasn’t just busy—I was good.  I had my pick of clients and chose to work primarily with athletes, models, and goodly amount of “regular” folks.

It means that I got to help people feel good and look good, each and every day.

It also means that at 23 years old, I was the worst businessman on Earth, because essentially, I didn’t treat my business like a business.

If you need stark illustration of my complete incompetence, check this out:  I had just decided that I needed to make more money, but then it occurred to me.

I had NO IDEA how much money I made.


It’s true.  I didn’t really keep track of my income.  I ran a cash business, and all I knew was that my bills were paid, I had money in my checking account, was making (infrequent) deposits to my savings, and always had enough money to do what I wanted.

Looking back at it now, I’m completely blown away by the irresponsibility of my mindset. 

Of course, I could make the excuse that I was young and reckless and most of my energy was devoted to my Holy Quest of Trying to Have Sex with Every Woman in the World, but still, you’d think I’d have some brainpower left over for tracking income.

And so that’s what I did.  On June 15th of that year, I made an excel spreadsheet of every single session I’d done since January 1st.  I then gave each session a dollar amount and realized that I was doing pretty damn well.

At that point, I had mad $42,785.00 from training, the majority of which was cash.  Since it was the middle of the year, I could assume that if no major upsets occurred, I was on pace to make about $85,000 for the year.

I was pretty pleased—I was making high 5 figures doing something I loved.  In fact, I was making more (in some cases double) than any of my friends who had jobs related to their degrees.  That felt nice.

Of course, knowing how much you make isn’t really any big achievement—in order to grow my business, I needed to make more money.  To put a pinpoint on my goal, I decided that breaking the 6-figure barrier was going to be enough to get my mom to view what I did as a real job.


This is the look of a man with goals (and a man who’s doing bent-over rows.) Photo: Jared Polin

NOW, we come to the business discussion.  I’m going to tell you what I did, and now, years later, give some insight about why it was wrong and what I should have done.

So I wanted to make more dolla-dolla bills.

The problem was, again, I had no idea how to do that.  So, I just did everything I can think of.  And made quite a few mistakes….

Now, I want to tell you all about them (and how to avoid them), but this post is getting too long.

Here’s the thing: the BIGGEST mistake I made was NOT investing in my business education.  At the time, I didn’t think of it.  More importantly, there weren’t resources specific to educating me about FITNESS Business.

Thankfully, that’s no longer true.

I want to just tell you about something I think every trainer or fitness pro should own: Fitness Business Blueprint.


A collaboration between Eric Cressey, Mike Robertson, and Pat Rigsby, FBB is a crash course in not fucking up. You’ll get to avoid tons of mistakes and do things right…and make more money doing it.

Now, I know a lot of people are going to hedge at the price—it’s 197 bucks.  And, yea, that seems like a lot.

But, when you think about how much time and money you’ll save (and make) from the investment, it’s a no brainer.

By way of illustration, here’s a quote from Cressey:

“I spent $25 on a book that taught me the basics of Lease Negotiations, and it literally saved us TENS of thousands of dollars.”

Imagine if he didn’t buy that book?  Imagine he Eric didn’t take the time to learn about Lease Negotiation?  He’d save 25 bucks.  Awesome.

But perhaps the extra thousands of dollars in rent would have been enough to put Cressey Performance—now considered one of the top gyms in the world—out of business in it’s first year.

That sort of return on investment is exactly why trainers and fitness professionals NEED to invest in Fitness Business Blueprint. It’ll save you time, save you money, and probably double your income.

Seriously.  It’s an investment you won’t regret.  If you’re a trainer or trying to be one, I want you to pick this up.

Sometimes you get lucky, like me—as you can tell, I was successful in spite of what I did, not because of what I did.  Most of the time that’s not the case.  And even when it is, it’s a struggle.

I want you to avoid the struggles that I had.  (Holy crap, now I sound like my mom.)

Spending 200 dollars to save 10 THOUSAND and make another 20 THOUSAND…easy choice.

Okay, okay…enough pitching.

Anyway, like I said, I made TONS of mistakes (many of which could have been avoided if I had access to FBB).

Don’t miss part two of this post, right HERE.

About the Author

John Romaniello is a level 70 orc wizard who spends his days lifting heavy shit and his nights fighting crime. When not doing that, he serves as the Chief Bro King of the Roman Empire and Executive Editor here on RFS. You can read his articles here, and rants on Facebook.

Comments for This Entry

  • Zoolander and the Hero's Journey

    […] helpful to me in all aspect of my career, including my in-person training business: early on, I made a lot of mistakes, but I still managed to be successful, because I always played to my strengths. And because I was […]

    December 8, 2014 at 10:56 am

  • Zoolander and the Hero's Journey

    [...] helpful to me in all aspect of my career, including my in-person training business: early on, I made a lot of mistakes, but I still managed to be successful, because I always played to my strengths. And because I was [...]

    November 18, 2013 at 4:31 pm

  • Chris

    What do you think of Bedros Keuilian?

    May 18, 2013 at 1:46 am

  • kirk

    Roman this is excellent advise. I have a business and being aware that I don't know something is the first step to reaching the limitless abundance within us all. Learn and be open to more good in one's life is a start toward creating who we want to be.

    August 27, 2011 at 5:09 pm

  • Roan

    Interesting! Running your own fitness BUSINESS is probably a great way of life and a profound realization at the same time. Take more control, have more control. Though I take joy in your mistakes... More more!

    August 15, 2011 at 3:54 am

  • Conor

    Great post Roman, Just starting out in the fitness industry having finished my studies. I'm much more interested in advice on how to get my business up and running tho as opposed to going from 85 to 100. looking forward to your next post!

    August 14, 2011 at 10:43 am

  • Suneet

    Hey Roman My name is Suneet.Im 21 years old and from Mumbai,India I am in a similar situation that you were in all those years ago Im currently in my final year of my Engineering degree I really dont have any interest in working in this field and Im considering doing my Masters in Kinesiology Can you help me out with some advice on how I should go about this Or if you suggest a different path Fitness is my life and there is nothing more I would love to do than be a professional in the fitness industry Anxiously awaiting your response - Suneet P.S : I think there is something wrong with your comments section.I posted a comment few days back and it hasnt shown.This has happened quite few times before.

    August 14, 2011 at 12:20 am

  • Josh

    Good stuff. Thanks for sharing all this financial info. It seems like that's something that a lot of people shy away from and I'm not sure why. How much were you charging per session when you started out and how were you doing it? By that I mean: Were you working for a gym? Did you just have a bunch of gym memberships and go train people at different gyms? How did you set up your training? Thanks in advance if you get around to answering.

    August 12, 2011 at 7:20 pm

  • RJ

    Good article Roman! I'm in the midst of figuring out what I want to do after university and still toying with the idea of working in the fitness industry. Thanks for this!

    August 12, 2011 at 7:12 pm

  • Tiffany

    Amazing article! Thank you for sharing your experience as well as answering everyone's questions. I wanted to touch on what someone else asked (but you hadn't answered) and that was how did you acquire your first clients? Were you working for a gym? Additionally, when you started training what kind of liability forms did you have your clients fill out? Thanks again for the major insights. It definitely came at the right time for me :) Mahalo! Tiffany

    August 12, 2011 at 1:52 pm

  • John Romaniello

    Thank you so, so much, Syliva. I'll keep going, and keep sharing. Your support means the world to me.

    August 12, 2011 at 12:45 pm

  • John Romaniello

    You're totally right, man. So many trainers just want to learn about training, not business. Thankfully, there are good resources now who can teach you about both.

    August 12, 2011 at 12:44 pm

  • John Romaniello

    Thank you for the kind words, Teresa, truly. My mom is very proud these days, and she feels just as you do. Just took her a bit to catch on =) I appreciate the compliment and the comment.

    August 12, 2011 at 12:35 pm

  • John Romaniello

    Thanks for the comment, Nat, I appreciate it.

    August 12, 2011 at 12:34 pm

  • John Romaniello

    And thank YOU for the comment =)

    August 12, 2011 at 12:33 pm

  • John Romaniello

    When I joined the gym and started training, I was 193-ish pounds and quite Chubby. I have no idea what my bodyfat% was, but I'd just hit a 35 inch waist. That was in late April. By July 4th, I was 165 and had a full six pack. In addition, my bench press and squat had increased, and my chest/back measurement upper arms, and legs all increased in size. So, I had a "pretty good" body inside of 3-4 months. I needed some work, particularly in terms of symmetry. However, it's important to understand that from the time I was 14, I did SOME form of weight training. I played football, wrestled, and ran track in high school, and my coach (the same coach for all 3 sports) had been a power lifter. So I was always "under the bar" and had a lot formative experience. However, despite my participation in competitive athletics, I was never lean. I was always the "husky" kid or the "thick but strong" type. Which means that I was developing muscle, just under the fat. When I got lean, the muscle showed through. Then I spent from October to March adding about 25 pounds of body weight. Mostly muscle, some fat. By that summer, I was 188 and 6%. From there, I have gone up and down, but essentially stayed in the same range while refining my physique. The heaviest I've been was 212 and 13% body fat. The biggest I've been in lean condition was 203 and 8%. I stayed at around 198 and 6-9% for a while, but these days I prefer to be around 190 and sub 10%. I can get leaner if needed, but as long as I have visible abs I don't need to stay complete shredded.

    August 12, 2011 at 12:27 pm

  • John Romaniello

    It's our pleasure, Shelley. Both Craig and Alwyn have been tremendous mentors to me, and it's an honor to be listed among such mighty company. Thank YOU.

    August 12, 2011 at 12:19 pm

  • John Romaniello

    Oh, tons of stuff. I really did make the effort the first few years go to seminars and get coaching on execution of certain things like olympic lifts. I also made sure to go to seminars led by guys who I thought designed cool programs. Berardi, et al. And then I read everything I could on the subject. Siff, Zatsiorsky, Bompa, King. Tons and tons of stuff. And constant testing on myself. There's no secret, really, it's just being willing to put in the work. Some people are just gifted with a natural affinity towards certain aspects. Cressey, for example, from the very outset, was a virtuoso in terms of stuff like anatomy and biomechanics--so he had an advantage. But he still had to work and put in the hours to become a better trainer.

    August 12, 2011 at 12:18 pm

  • John Romaniello

    A nice girl? The last thing I need is a nice girl. I prefer my women abrasive and bitchy--keeps me in line.

    August 12, 2011 at 12:12 pm

  • John Romaniello

    I'll touch on that in my next post. I'll just disagree with the point that transitioning to online is easy--for me, it was much harder than getting from 0-$85K, or from 85K to 100. The online transition is basically learning an entirely new profession, WHILE working full time at your other job. But, yes, I'll touch on the "good stuff" I did that helped me get to 85.

    August 12, 2011 at 12:10 pm

  • John Romaniello

    I really appreciate that. Actually, in point of fact, towards the end of my college career, I was double majoring in English and Psychobiology (a combo program which focused on some cool stuff I will talk about at a later date). The English major had a very strong writing component, which I think helped a lot.

    August 12, 2011 at 12:08 pm

  • John Romaniello

    You're already doing tons of stuff right. My next post should help you avoid some stuff. Get your cert (you shouldn't be training without one) and some insurance. Pick up FBB and get on it!

    August 12, 2011 at 12:06 pm

  • Juan P Beltran

    I studied biology just like you did. I have 2 masters degrees on the subject, but I recently discovered that fitness has really become my passion. I just love training. I have invested in education, but I still need a certification. I have a couple of clients, and I'm starting to write in the local newspaper. I'm really hopeful to seeing your mistakes and learning from them.

    August 12, 2011 at 12:05 pm

  • Seth

    Awesome post as usual. However, I agree with Paul in the post below and would love to hear how you went to making 85000/yr in the first place.

    August 12, 2011 at 10:32 am

  • Paul

    Wonderful post as usual Roman, I'm a big fan, BUT... You left out the most important part! How did you get yourself published in fitness magazines and get loads of clients busting down your door in the first place after only just having discovered your passion for fitness? You talked about it so matter-of-factly, yet I am sure that most readers would sacrifice their girlfriend's uterus to Thor for a chance to get published and make 85,000 dollars a year and have a full schedule of clients. I am also sure that many of your readers look a lot better than you did at 20 and also know a lot more about fitness and nutrition than you did at 20 yet they don't even have enough money to buy protein powder for themselves. The few clients they do have probably see wonderful results too, so where are they going wrong? I think most readers want to know how to get from earning $ 5,000 a year from training to $85,000 a year first. Expanding the business after that is quite elementary... develop some products, make some videos, do a newsletter, write a blog, all in an effort to reach more people and sell more products. Then you develop new products and repeat the process. Do your bookkeeping, watch the numbers, trial and error, work hard, and just keep expanding. Why don't you tell people how they can actually put food on the table first with their fitness training so they aren't just going crazy trying to do/find other jobs just to survive? Sorry, don't mean to sound crass. Like I said, I do admire your work, I just think you left out the most important part. Of course it is nice to avoid mistakes when you are trying to expand your business into 6 figures and beyond, but I think just establishing a solid income to survive on is MUCH more important and interesting for most people and that it should be covered IN DETAIL first, before anything else. Its the old classic of trying to teach an infant how to run before it can crawl. Maybe some of your readers disagree with me, and I apologize in advance. Thanks for all your great work, keep it up and please think about what I said.

    August 12, 2011 at 2:12 am

  • Shelley

    It is so good of successful trainers like you, Craig Ballantyne and Alwyn Cosgrove to share your expertise on the BUSINESS side of personal training, on top of all the other great information you provide. I have learned SO much from you guys in the past three months and you share it all so freely!Thank you! Thank you!

    August 11, 2011 at 11:14 pm

  • Danielle

    I've heard you say before that you used to be a chubby kid. How much weight did you lose between the time period that you would describe as really trying to get into shape? Also, I was long did it take you to get a "good" body? I know you can get a good body...and then perfect it after that; but how long did it take you to get a pretty solid foundation where you were pleased with your body? (maybe the "i can see my abs now" moment from zoolander) :)

    August 11, 2011 at 9:11 pm

  • Marie

    Thanks for the post!

    August 11, 2011 at 8:54 pm

  • john john

    damn so thats how you did it... nice

    August 11, 2011 at 6:24 pm

  • Teresa

    Hey did it again. I don't know how "successful" you are in the fitness industry, (I'm guessing pretty darn successful!), and I don't know if your mom is taking you seriously yet... But, I can tell you as a mom, and as one old enough almost to be your mom, I would be proud of you! You took your passion and ran with it, and are paying your bills. It really is all we want for our children. More importantly, (I think) your eloquence serves as an inspiration to others on so many levels. Well done John!

    August 11, 2011 at 6:16 pm

  • Marci

    Thanks for so honestly and openly sharing your journey with us. You are an inspiration!

    August 11, 2011 at 5:47 pm

  • Sean

    Count another person who would like to know about your quest for fitness knowledge, other than the obvious (eg. seminars). I am particularly interested since your degree is not in exercise science (mine isn't either). However, I do agree with you that having numerous credentials and several letters after your name, does not make you better at what you do relative to someone lacking those credentials. BTW, rocks are heavy.

    August 11, 2011 at 5:39 pm

  • Rachel

    I hope this doesn't come out wrong, but I'm glad you struggled. It's nice to know that The Romanz is not perfect, although he kinda looks that way.... Please share more! -Rachel

    August 11, 2011 at 4:42 pm

  • Matthew

    Great timing on this one. I literally just finished training my first paying customer. Thanks for the insights, love the reads. Peace

    August 11, 2011 at 4:04 pm

  • Alex Ho

    sick! thanks

    August 11, 2011 at 3:44 pm

  • Jennie

    its so awesome how much you share with everyone! thank you =)

    August 11, 2011 at 3:14 pm

  • Nat

    I am not a trainer, nor do I want to be at this point but I like to encourage my friends to "get fit" and help them with the knowledge I have from doing it myself. Thank you for your inspiring writing and the heart you put into it. Looking forward to part II.

    August 11, 2011 at 2:26 pm

  • Sonja

    Thanks for sharing, its interesting to know how trainers make it.

    August 11, 2011 at 2:04 pm

  • Karen Praxel

    Now we just have to find you a nice girl and get you settled down.... ....< said while pinching your cheek and patting your chest not quite as platonically as your real Mom ;-) Momma Karen

    August 11, 2011 at 1:25 pm

  • matan

    nice post lets hear more

    August 11, 2011 at 1:23 pm

  • Ted

    Awesome. Moar plz. I'd be extremely interested in anything you have to say regarding steps you've taken to become a better trainer too (other than the obvious ones...experience, conferences, watch others).

    August 11, 2011 at 1:17 pm

  • Jeff Adamus

    Thank you for sharing your story and thanks for the motivation and humor that flows thru all of your blogs. Looking forward to Part Deux.

    August 11, 2011 at 1:06 pm

  • Marco

    Nice story! I can definitely relate! I'm grateful there are people like you who give back and make it much easier for new coaches to succeed! Payin it forward everyday!

    August 11, 2011 at 12:20 pm

  • Steve

    Great post, Roman; I look forward to part II. When I read your posts, it's hard to believe that you didn't major in writing. It's obvious that writing is one of your main passions. Thanks!

    August 11, 2011 at 12:12 pm

  • Tammy Miller

    Great blog! I'm just about ready to take my exam to become a CPT and could use any advice I can get! Thank you!

    August 11, 2011 at 12:08 pm


    I love your openness, John. I am especially touched that you shared about your mom being a single parent and your struggles and triumphs. That is what life is all about. John, you are where you are supposed to be. I applaud your tenacity to follow your path. I want to hear more.

    August 11, 2011 at 12:06 pm

  • Mike T Nelson

    Great stuff Roman! Very true, as I see many fitness people scared out of their mind to invest in their business. I was no different when I started either, and I am slowing learning it is a good thing; although a bit freaky along the way. I'm sure I will look back on what I am doing now in 3-5 years and shake my head again; but I prefer to fail forward as fast as possible. Looking forward to the next part! Rock on Mike T Nelson PhD(c) PS Great interview with Craig B awhile back on his Internet Independence newsletter.

    August 11, 2011 at 11:59 am

  • Jamie P

    Great Post! I was wondering where you started training your clients at in the beginning? Was it at the college's rec facilities, a commercial gym or somewhere else? That's seems to be my barrier to jumping into the business is not knowing where to begin.

    August 11, 2011 at 11:48 am

  • nathan

    Forget the business, I need to look like you geezer haha

    August 11, 2011 at 11:47 am

  • Eric Cressey

    Awesome post, Roman! Know you well, but it's cool to hear about the stuff that went on behind the scenes to get you to where you are you today. Lots of hard work rewarded!

    August 11, 2011 at 11:25 am

  • John Romaniello

    I know you're mostly joking around here, but I'll give you a serious answer. Now, of course I didn't sleep with ALL the women in the world--but I did sleep with enough women to cure me of the delusion that sleeping with women (or the ability to do so at will) leads to a life of utter satisfaction. As I mentioned above, the novelty wears off...mostly. Anyway, with regard to helping me with my business: yes, it did, in many ways. I could do an entire post on this, but the main point is that dabbling in pick-up artistry (at least to the extent that I got extremely comfortable talking to strangers [and in particular, women]) has carry over to learning how to sell. The more comfortable you are in your own skin--that is, the more you can stand up in front of total strangers and speak confidently about either yourself or your business--the more likely it is that people will want to take the relationship further. It's really no surprise to me that in business, we refer to people or companies "being in bed together" to mean that they have mutual interests etc.

    August 11, 2011 at 11:18 am

  • John Romaniello

    I concede that point. And it's one my mom has made. Thanks for that =)

    August 11, 2011 at 11:12 am

  • John Romaniello

    First ACE, because it was cheap and easy, then NSCA, which I think holds quite a bit more stock. The main thing to remember is that all a certification really gives you is the legal right to start working with clients, and a metric that people can use to assess and assert that you have at least a baseline level of knowledge. There are exceptionally well credentialed individuals who aren't great trainers, and guys who don't have the highest level of certs who are. Practice makes...well, better.

    August 11, 2011 at 11:12 am

  • Leo

    Haha, sounds like you owe a big thanks to Alwyn Cosgrove. Anyhow, interesting read, thanks Roman! Looking forward to part 2.

    August 11, 2011 at 5:47 am

  • Renae

    I think there is something to psych and bio majors.. me too.. and me too a fitness freak. BTW sorry to let you know.. you ARE doing something with your degree. It takes serious psychology (especially if you work with women who want to loose weight) to navigate the emotional rollercoaster of losing weight and regaining health. It takes a sense of how the body works even at the cellular level to really know fitness and health. So yeah for you!

    August 11, 2011 at 12:35 am

  • Constantino

    Hey John, just wondering what certification you first received? And if you think that is really important to get started. Thanks.

    August 10, 2011 at 11:03 pm

  • dan

    did you succede with the lady goal and did that help your business

    August 10, 2011 at 5:58 pm

  • Darren

    Great read Roman, I love fitness and like you I have a psych and bio background that I don't want a career in. I love fitness and want to parlay this into a business (with full credit going to you of course!). It was great to read your story and I can't wait to read more

    August 10, 2011 at 5:18 pm

  • Nick

    I bought the FBB and I am soaking up these guys knowledge like a sponge!

    August 10, 2011 at 3:27 pm

  • Alex

    Great post man, as someone who is seriously considering entering the fitness industry these kinds of tips and resources are invaluable. Can't wait to read more and see some more resources that have helped you along the way!

    August 10, 2011 at 11:45 am

  • Fred

    Really dig how you're putting this kind of knowledge out there man. Can't wait to read the next one. Running a fitness business aside, did you ever invest in some general business or marketing training? If so: any good recommendations on those fronts?

    August 10, 2011 at 10:41 am

  • jason

    Great post Roman! Thanks for the info!

    August 10, 2011 at 6:49 am

  • Michelle Lopez

    Thanks for sharing - it's always interesting to hear what someone had to endure before they got to the successful stage of their business. P.S. Is that an affiliate link? Didn't see a disclosure...

    August 10, 2011 at 1:06 am

  • Troy

    John, Thanks for sharing your abridged story. Often those trips and starts are the unspoken key to success. It is encouraging to be reminded of that. I love reading your posts - frank and to the point. Part2 will be good! -Troy

    August 9, 2011 at 11:59 pm

  • Dave O

    Great post! Looking forward to the next one!

    August 9, 2011 at 10:27 pm

  • Dan

    Finally, a business post! Awesome! One question though, from what I understood, you basically were a "fitness entrepreneur" from the start. You did no internships, no prior job at like at a commercial gym or anything. From the start you looked for your own clients, educated yourself, made connections, and learned from experience. Am I right in saying that?

    August 9, 2011 at 9:36 pm

  • Lauren

    Wow! Thanks again for sharing a great personal and incredibly insightful story. Keep up the good work Roman. Looking forward to part II.

    August 9, 2011 at 9:31 pm

  • Ylwa

    So, apparantly you've been lying. There are way more then 3 steps towards a successful business :)

    August 9, 2011 at 8:37 pm

  • Keith

    Excellent post John! I am late to the game in really developing and growing my business and I'm battling with the idea that this is my CAREER! I really have no clue how much I make, and like you my bills are paid and I have money to have fun and TRY to bang every girl on the planet haha! It's a little scary to be honest and I have my own little "Momma Roman" in my ear too. I can't wait to read part two of this post. Maybe I'll see if I can dig up the $197 for FBB as I love Cressey's stuff too. Thank you!

    August 9, 2011 at 7:25 pm

  • Jason Coffman

    I don't plan to start a fitness business. My interests really lie in science, but I may very well end up in school for an MD, PhD that relates to metabolomics or the endocrine system. So I'll think about whether that would entice me to get this book or focus on something else?

    August 9, 2011 at 7:04 pm

  • John Romaniello

    No, that wasn't one of them =) I've never had a problem saving money--due in large part to Momma Roman.

    August 9, 2011 at 6:54 pm

  • BostonBarrister

    Sounds like a fun time. But, I hope one of the mistakes wasn't failing to save money to pay all the self-employment taxes that attach to that type of work (and are due quarterly) - otherwise I imagine April 15 was painful that year...

    August 9, 2011 at 6:52 pm


    Great read John Im a late bloomer in the game but a rewarding change from the 9-5 nonsense. Progression and Education YESSSSSSSSS

    August 9, 2011 at 6:39 pm

  • rocky

    By far one of the BEST blog posts I've ever read. Veryyy informative and intresting at the same time. I think everyone that reads this will thank you. Seriously that's good stuff bro. Wish you woulda kept goin.. Can't wait to read about the mistakes, and hope you tell us about if and when you met your goal of 6 figures.

    August 9, 2011 at 4:58 pm

Leave a Comment